Optimize your search-engine results at the local level.
For many chiropractors, the language of search engine optimization (SEO) is just as foreign as “subluxation” is to the general public. But learning a few basics about SEO can help improve your search rankings and, more importantly, get your information to the people who are looking for it.
Put simply, SEO is the art of getting your website to appear for the search queries of your target market. “Chiropractor in Boulder Colorado” and “chronic back pain treatment” are two examples of search queries that potential patients might use.
A variety of factors influence SEO rankings, but your practice likely can excel simply by having a solid website, a social media presence, and sufficient local citations or links.
From Places to Plus
If you don’t have a Google Places or Google+ listing for your practice, establishing one should be your No. 1 priority. Google Places and Google+ pages are now integrated, which makes your job much easier.
Do a search for your business on Google and claim your page (look for: “Are you the business owner?” or “Manage this page”). Fill out all the information, including your website address, practice hours, description, etc. Add photos of your practice to make your page more eye-catching.
After that, consumers in your area who are searching for a local chiropractor will see your practice show up on the map listing on the right-hand side of search results pages. If you regularly post to Google+, that information is indexed quickly by search engines and could potentially show up in search results, too. Since many people are not using Google+ to their advantage, there is a lot of potential for those who do it right to stand out.
Is your practice listed on Yelp, FourSquare, or MerchantCircle? These local networking sites not only provide links to your website but they are used by consumers to find and compare businesses.
Review sites like Yelp often factor the number and quality of reviews into their ranking algorithms. Once you have your page set up and completed, concentrate on getting reviews for your business.
You can get started by leaving reviews for other local businesses that you regularly interact with. This could be the coffee shop or sports bar down the street, as well as the therapists and doctors you’ve worked with. Yelp prohibits you from paying for reviews or offering certain incentives, but it doesn’t hurt to ask satisfied patients and friends to leave a short review on your page.
Yelp is one of many tools for mobile search as well. Since mobile search is growing in tandem with the popularity of smart phones, it is important to make sure your business is visible on mobile platforms as well.
Tip: Yelp, FourSquare, and Facebook also have a feature called “check-in.” If your business has a presence, your clients have the ability to check in at your business and let their friends know about your practice.
You can claim your listings on YellowPages, WhitePages, Local.com, and more, but it’s faster and easier to use a data manager like Yext or MozLocal (previously GetListed). Both will manage your business listings and disperse your information to hundreds of local websites and vertical directories.
A data manager is beneficial if you add a partner to your practice or you change your address, as you can easily update it in the data aggregator instead of going to 50 or more websites to change your information manually.
Local search puts a high value on name, address, and phone number consistency. If you use a data manager to ensure that your business information, website, and social media links are all the same, this will positively benefit your rankings. Not only will you have links directing people to your website, but these links correspond to higher visibility and rankings as well.
Most local newspapers and news organizations also have databases for local businesses. Look to see that your website is included with your business listing, as people often use these databases to find businesses.
Who you know
More than likely you’ve partnered with local physicians, therapists, medical centers, and insurance agents who refer patients to you. These relationships are great—but make sure you take them online too. See if they have a place on their websites where you can be listed as a resource or recommended practitioner.
If you are a member of your local chamber of commerce, make sure your business name and website are listed on the chamber’s member list. This is an excellent way to create SEO value from an offline relationship.
Similarly, if you belong to any chiropractic associations, look for membership lists to which you can add your website. For example: The American Chiropractic Association’s website has a “Find a Doc” feature, and Spine-Health.com and the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association have similar ones as well.
If you employ massage therapists or other wellness staff, look for websites that offer service directories for their line of work like the American Massage Therapy Association.
Communicate with local schools that offer massage therapy certification to see if you can be added as a potential employer. Even if you aren’t hiring right now, you may be down the road. Would you consider having an intern or a chiropractic student shadow you? Contact nearby schools that offer chiropractic degrees and ask to be cited as a resource for them.
Your clients are coming from your area, so bolster your digital marketing efforts by taking part in local trade shows, sponsor events, networking meet-ups, and educational seminars. These are all ways to build your chiropractic brand in your region. Your offline community involvement can translate into SEO value.
When sponsoring an event, ask to be listed on the event’s webpage, and prior to offering an educational seminar, submit a press release to your local newspaper. In the case of a networking event, connect with people on LinkedIn or put your social media URLs on your business card so you can continue those relationships online.
Success in SEO is about building relationships online. With Google’s constant algorithm updates, search has become more personalized and local, making ranking as a local practitioner a little bit easier. With a basic understanding of SEO, you will be well equipped to take control of your digital marketing.
Caitlin Dodds is a PR specialist for Web Talent Marketing, focusing on SEO and social media. She has extensive experience working in wellness and chiropractic marketing. She can be contacted through webtalentmarketing.com or on Twitter via @caitlinjdodds.